Introduction (2005): From Origins to Observation
From the beginning of Orientalism, the Christian missionaries have been assuming that Islam is “headless” enough to be attacked and scrutinized with a ferocity that one can only conclude borders on fanaticism. These missionaries proved then that they do not have the brains to acknowledge their own headlessness.
One such example is David Wood, a recent zealous recruit by the ever-intolerent Answering Islam, whose only amazing ability is his extreme belligerence—and what can only be described as fanatical intolerence—towards a faith different from his. This is a review of one such article.
David Wood begins by saying:
- Muhammad’s empire of faith has managed to thrive in the modern world for one simple reason: Muslims have kept Muhammad’s dark past a secret. Indeed, they have gone beyond keeping it a secret; they have somehow convinced themselves (and many others) that Muhammad was an outstanding moral example, perhaps even the greatest moral example of all time. Perpetuating this fraud has been, in my opinion, the most stupendous deception in world history.
We are sure that it has been such “a very large secret” that the incidents “exposed” in Mr. Wood’s belligerent piece were actually recorded in some recent contemporary biographies of the Prophet Muhammad(P). Mr. Wood should consider reading the late Martin Ling’s “Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources“, M. H. Haykal’s “The Life of Muhammad” and Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri, “The Sealed Nectar” and see whether these eminent writers had concealed even a fraction of the Prophet’s(P) life. Such sweeping assertions does not do justice to the fact that the Prophet’s life was “born in the full light of history”, as one historian once said1.
Yet Mr. Wood continue to persist in this mindless bigotry, and says:
- The difficulty here is that, no matter how loudly a Muslim shouts these objections, they have no power to overcome the historical fact that Muhammad was a robber and a murderer.
One should not throw stones at glass houses, and similarly one could say the following for the Judeo-Christian faith:
- The difficulty here is that, no matter how loudly a Jew/Christian shouts these objections, they have no power to overcome the historical fact that Moses was a robber and a murderer.2
Mr. Wood has not proven anything apart from an assertion that, in his view, what the Prophet(P) did was “robbing and murdering”.
Introduction Update (2023): Evolution of an Islamophobe
Fast forward to 2023, eighteen years since the initial observations were penned. Since making his claims in 2005, David Wood has not only continued his critiques against Islam, the Prophet Muhammad, and the Quran, but he has also capitalized on the surge of social media platforms, notably YouTube. Transitioning from written content to digital, he has morphed into an infamous YouTuber, using the platform’s wide reach to amplify his views. David Wood, who self-proclaims as a Christian apologist running an organisation with the late Nabeel Qureshi called Acts 17 Apologetics, has been a consistent, polarizing presence with his strident critiques against Islam, the Prophet Muhammad, and the Quran. Yet, to grasp the depth and the contours of his arguments, it is crucial to understand the dramatic highs and lows of his personal and professional life.
In a chilling episode from his past, David Wood brutally attacked his step-father with a hammer. This act, severe in its violence, culminated in his institutionalization and the subsequent diagnosis of anti-social personality disorder. Significantly, David Wood does not shy away from admitting that he has been diagnosed as a psychopath. Such revelations, while offering a glimpse into his tumultuous psyche, make it challenging to accept his self-touted role as a moral and theological compass.
Further complicating David Wood’s personal narrative is the tragic loss of one of his children. However, what has raised eyebrows in several quarters is his decision to leverage this tragedy for financial gain. By appealing to the Christian public’s compassion, David Wood solicited funds for “funeral expenses”, amassing an eyebrow-raising 214,702 USD at the time of writing. This action has prompted many to question the sincerity of his motives and the authenticity of his moral posturing.
Professionally, David Wood’s persistent focus on Islam often veers away from constructive criticism and teeters on the brink of an unhealthy obsession. His pattern of misrepresenting scriptural verses, decontextualizing historical events, and delivering them in a manner strategically aimed at tarnishing Islam’s image indicates an approach mired in intellectual dishonesty rather than genuine scholarship.
Despite this evolving platform, the polemics of David Wood remain familiar. His critiques, whether from 2005 or 2023, show a similar trend. He tends to misrepresent scriptural verses, decontextualize historical events, and aims strategically to tarnish Islam’s image. What follows are some of his recurring claims against the Prophet(P). As with his earlier critiques, they aren’t novel, and their rebuttals have been available for long.
- 1 Introduction (2005): From Origins to Observation
- 2 Introduction Update (2023): Evolution of an Islamophobe
- 3 Addressing Key Allegations: A Closer Look At David Wood’s Claims
- 3.1 Claim #1: When Muhammad began receiving his revelations, his first impression was that he was possessed by demons
- 3.2 Claim #2: Muhammad supported his fledgling religion by robbing people
- 3.3 Claim #3: Muhammad was often ruthless towards his adversaries
- 3.4 Claim #4: Muhammad had far more wives than even his own revelations allowed
- 3.5 Claim #5: Muhammad consummated a marriage to a nine-year-old girl
- 3.6 Claim #6: Muhammad had a contemptible opinion of women
- 3.7 Claim #7: Muhammad is unique among prophets in that he is the only one to receive a revelation, proclaim it as part of God’s message to man, and later take it back, claiming that it was actually from Satan.
- 4 Further Insights into a Psychopath’s Mind
- 5 Conclusions
The following are some of the claims that he has charged against the Prophet(P). Do note the nature of the polemical trend employed by David Wood. They are neither “new” nor have they not been discussed or answered aeons ago. What we will do here is to reproduce some of the charges, and provide a link to a further discussion on the issue. This is to demonstrate to Wood and his missionary pals that their tired, old repetitions are not unfamiliar to us, and to send a message that we are not interested in reinventing the wheel and waste our time in responding.
Addressing Key Allegations: A Closer Look At David Wood’s Claims
These are some of the claims that were made.
Claim #1: When Muhammad began receiving his revelations, his first impression was that he was possessed by demons
Verdict: Manipulation of Facts
This was discussed by Al-Nowaihi, who notes that:
It is important to realize that when that search culminated in his hearing the voice of Gabriel in Mount Hira, at the age of forty, he did not hasten to believe in his revelation or become convinced of it overnight. He passed through a period of considerable doubt and fear, terrified lest it be only the wicked trick and cruel jesting of Satan, and he needed the wholehearted support of his faithful wife Khadija to overcome his fears. I venture to suggest that this was an attestation of his integrity; a deliberate impostor bent upon deception would not have gone through those agonizing terrors. Furthermore, a careful reading of the early suras of the Qur’an shows that, even after he was convinced of the authenticity of his revelation, it was only with great reluctance that he accepted the awesome burden of his mission, and only after he was driven by an overpowering sense of the duty which he could not shirk.
(For more on the Christian missionary abuse of the Fatrah incident, see The Fatrah: Intermission of the Prophet Muhammad)
Claim #2: Muhammad supported his fledgling religion by robbing people
Verdict: Manipulation of Facts
(For more on the legislation and beginning of jihad, see The Legislation and the Beginning of Jihad)
Claim #3: Muhammad was often ruthless towards his adversaries
On the contrary, the Prophet(P) was always gentle and treated his enemies kindly, and this is a fact recognised by the most virulent of his contemporary enemies.
Claim #4: Muhammad had far more wives than even his own revelations allowed
Verdict: Manipulation of Facts
The injunction on the limitation of wives does not apply to the Prophet’s(P) wives. As they had attained a high stature in the Muslim community of believers (Ummul Mukminin or “Mothers of the Believers), it would be nothing short of an injustice to deprive them of their status by divorcing them and hence condemn them to humiliation. For the Prophet’s(P) marriages, a separate law was given to him, namely that he may not marry any more women after this revelation was revealed.
(For more on the Prophet Muhammad’s wives, see Why Was The Prophet Polygamous?)
Claim #5: Muhammad consummated a marriage to a nine-year-old girl
Verdict: Manipulation of Facts
(For more on Muhammad’s relationship with Aisha, see The Young Marriage of Aishah)
Claim #6: Muhammad had a contemptible opinion of women
Verdict: Outright Falsehood
(For more on the Islamic view of women, see The Position of Women in Islam)
Claim #7: Muhammad is unique among prophets in that he is the only one to receive a revelation, proclaim it as part of God’s message to man, and later take it back, claiming that it was actually from Satan.
Verdict: Outright Falsehood
(For more on the Orientalist fantasy regarding this unauthentic tradition, see Those Are Their High-Flying Lies Indeed)
Further Insights into a Psychopath’s Mind
We have thus concluded our rebuttal to his polemical list of allegations against the honour of the Prophet Muhammad (P). From these mere selective “claims” however, David Wood tries to conclude that:
- These are just some of the facts that Muslims have been keeping secret, but they are enough to make any reasonable person doubt the validity of Islam.
On the contrary, the allegations that were hurled and repeated ad nauseam by the missionary is nothing new. They have been discussed, debated, and refuted by Muslim and non-Muslim scholars time and time again. David Wood is perhaps ignorant of the copious amount of material on these issues and who can blame him? Perhaps he has been living in a mono-culture all his life and has never come across a single Muslim on the street.
- The truth about Muhammad has been one of the world’s best-kept secrets. For centuries, it has been virtually impossible to raise objections about the character of Muhammad in Muslim countries, for anyone who raised such objections would (following the example set by Muhammad himself) immediately be killed.
And it was possible to raise issues of doubt about the character of Jesus(P) in the Spanish Inquisition and Crusades era, for example? Mr. Wood is trying to “pull wool” over his reader’s eyes, without a doubt.
We will not make secret of the fact that reviewing David Wood’s article (not to mention his series of Christian belligerent nonsense) has been nothing but a most tiresome exercise. David Wood tries to cast the illusion as though “criticism” of the Prophet(P) is something foreign or alien to the Muslim world. On the contrary, attacking Islam has been as old as the founding of Islam itself and “criticism” of the Prophet(P) as old as Orientalism itself.
We also demand evidence from David Wood about his claim that “anyone who raised such objections would…immediately be killed”. What is the proof of his sweeping statement? In which countries are these people killed for their “criticism” and what is the nature of their so-called “criticism”?
Yet David Wood continues with:
- In the end, Islam will fall, for the entire structure is built upon the belief that Muhammad was the greatest moral example in history, and this belief is demonstrably false.
Unfortunately for David Wood, Islam does not rise or fall on a single individual. It is true that the Prophet Muhammad is held in the highest esteem. It is actually more true to say the following about Christianity:
In the end, Christianity will fall, for the entire structure is built upon the belief that Jesus was the God-incarnate, and this belief is demonstrably false.
Indeed, countless individuals and groups have secretly wished for Islam’s downfall from past to present. However, we are not disturbed by the secret desires of Mr. Wood and his belligerent Christian missionary pals to see Islam’s destruction. There is no reason to believe that David Wood and his pals will succeed where their more “knowledgeable” predecessors in the likes of Margoliuth, Muir, Zwemmer and Pfander had all failed before.
And with that, we say that only God knows best!
- Ernest Renan (1823-1892), over a century ago, confidently pronounced that “Islam was born in the full light of history.”
- e.g. Numbers 31